The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs last evening approved about one lakh crore Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA). It is a new centrally sponsored scheme for higher education which will spread over two plan periods (XIIth and XIIIth). It will focus on state higher educational institutions. It will be a new flagship scheme of the government that will pave the way for far reaching reforms at the state level. A total of 316 state public universities and 13,024 colleges will be covered under RUSA.
The key objectives of RUSA are to improve access, equity and quality in higher education through planned development of higher education at the state level. It is proposed to improve the Gross Enrolment Ratio from 19% at present to 30% by 2020. It will help create new academic institutions, and expand the existing institutions, that are self-reliant in terms of quality education and professional management.
They shall be characterized by greater inclination towards research and provide students with education that is both relevant to them as well as the nation as a whole.
The funding will be provided by the Central and State Governments respectively in the ratio of 90:10 for North-Eastern States and Jammu &Kashmir, 75:25 for Other Special Category States (Sikkim, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand) and 65:35 for Other States and UTs. Funding will be made available to private government-aided institutions also, subject to their meeting certain pre-conditions for permitted activities based on laid down norms and parameters.
RUSA will adopt a completely new approach towards funding higher education in state universities. The key principles for RUSA funding will be performance-based funding, incentivizing well performing institutions and decision making through clearly defined norms.
These principles will help establish and rely upon a management information system to gather the essential information from institutions.
RUSA will aim to provide greater autonomy to universities as well as colleges and have a sharper focus on equity-based development, and improvement in teaching-learning quality and research.
The reforms initiated under RUSA will build a self-sustaining momentum that will push for greater accountability and autonomy of state institutions and also to unleash the potential of the state universities.
In order to be eligible for funding under RUSA, states will have to fulfill certain prerequisites which include creation of a State Higher Education Council, creation of accreditation agencies, preparation of the state perspective plans, commitment of certain stipulated share of funds towards RUSA, academic, sectoral and institutional governance reforms, filling faculty positions etc.
Under the scheme, an initial amount will be provided to the State governments to prepare them for complying with the above requirements. Once eligible for funding under RUSA, after meeting the prerequisite commitments, the States will receive funds on the basis of achievements and outcomes. The yardstick for deciding the quantum of funds for the states and institutions comprise the norms that reflect the performance in key result areas (access, equity and excellence). The State plans will capture the current position of the states and institutions with respect to these indicators, as well as the targets that need to be achieved. The State Higher Education Council will undertake this process of planning, execution and evaluation, in addition to other monitoring and capacity building functions.
At the national level, the scheme will be implemented by the RUSA Mission Authority and assisted by the Project Advisory Group, Technical Support Group and Project Directorate. The main agency through which RUSA will work in the States will be the State Higher Education Council (SHEC), an autonomous body that will function at an arm’s length from the state and central governments. SHEC will be assisted by State Project Directorate and Technical Support Group. In every institution, the Governing Body and a Project Monitoring Unit will oversee the project progress.
Source: Press Information Bureau